I’ll paraphrase Mussolini:
“All within the narrative, nothing outside the narrative, nothing against the narrative.”


Controversial Take: It’s Bad To Put Words In The Mouths Of Murder Victims
On Ben Collins and the scourge of opportunistic post-tragedy commentary

On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, Ben Collins, who “covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News,” gave what I found to be a very strange soliloquy about Club Q, an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs where five people were killed and about 18 injured by a man named Anderson Lee Aldrich on Saturday night.

Collins subsequently tweeted a link to it (archived here):

Collins starts by asking, “Am I doing something wrong here?” Then he runs down his and his colleagues’ tireless coverage of anti-LGBT rhetoric on the right, reading a bunch of headlines that are splashed on-screen:

He then says, “And I’m just wondering — what could I have done different? Seriously. As reporters, what can we do different?”

To be blunt, I found this obnoxious and solipsistic. Not everything is about journalists. The probability that any mass murder has anything to do with anything Ben Collins or his colleagues did (or didn’t do) is approximately nil. This is just a very strange, self-absorbed way to understand the world.

Continue reading “”

MEDIA LOSES ITS MIND OVER “RAMBO STYLE KNIFE” USED IN IDAHO QUAD-MURDER

That the media is prone to hyperventillation over anything weapon-related should hardly come as a shock. Our friends in the firearms community face it all the time when the media label what to many is just a light range trip worth of guns and ammunition an “arsenal”. Well they are at it again, and this time it is the knife community’s turn in the barrel, as the media frenzy over the quadruple homicide in Moscow, ID rages.

If you haven’t tuned into the news this week, 4 University of Idaho students were brutally stabbed to death over the weekend, and the Police seem to be at a loss. Their decision to focus on the potential murder weapon, looks to this reporter like an attempt to give the media anything in the face of very few public leads. The murder weapon remains undiscovered.

I am not a forensic expert by any means, though I took a few forensic anthropology classes in graduate school and I understand how the coroner reached their conclusion as to the nature of said weapon. The wound channels from the stabbings would have particular characteristics in terms of size and shape, and from this they have deduced that they match the characteristics of one of the most, if not the most mass-produced and iconic American fixed blade knives, the USMC Mark 2., commonly known as the KA-BAR.

KA-BAR USMC MK. 2 (from KABAR.com)

From Idaho Statesman:

Moscow police appear to be searching for a “Rambo”-style knife involved in the killing of four University of Idaho students, a store manager said Wednesday. Scott Jutte, general manager of Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that police have visited the store more than once to ask whether the retailer sold anyone Ka-Bar brand knives, which are also known as K bar knives. Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell told the Statesman on Thursday that detectives visited several local hardware stores that may carry “fixed-blade type knives,” but that they weren’t solely asking about Ka-Bar knives.

Ka-Bar, of Olean, New York, manufactures military-grade blades that were originally designed for use by American troops in World War II.

Jutte said a police officer stopped by the home improvement store and lumber yard off North Main Street in Moscow to speak with him on Monday. “They were specifically asking whether or not we carry Ka-Bar-style knives, which we do not,” Jutte said in an interview. “If we did, we could’ve reviewed surveillance footage. But it wasn’t something I could help them with.” Jutte said he is familiar with the military-style weapon, even though his store doesn’t sell it.

He says he is “familiar with the “military style weapon””…

I am trying to figure out what is specifically “military” about the KA-BAR, other than its history of course. The name of the Mk. 2 in Government-bureaucratese is “Knife, Fighting Utility”. Fighting is a verb, something you could do with it, not a description. I can fight you with a stapler. An entrenching tool is a devastatingly effective melee weapon. We don’t call a “Fighting Shovel”, no matter how efficiently it can be used as such.

Utility is a good descriptive word, as they are used for everything from prying open crates to opening ration cans. The “KA-BAR” (originally made by Camillus, PAL, and others under WWII contract) was much better at these tasks than the WWI era M1918 Trench Knife, with its more fragile, less utilitarian stiletto blade and single grip knuckle-duster hand guard.

The USMC Mk.2, now manufactured by KA-BAR Knives Inc. of Olean, New York, remains one of the most popular fixed blade outdoor knives in existence. A good portion of this is due to its military heritage. Many a serviceman or has carried the knife on deployment, even into combat just like their grandfathers before them. They are an heirloom quality tool, and it is entirely possible that someone actually carried their Grandfather’s own knife in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Of course plenty of civilians, this writer included, own one as well. It is an extremely robust and useful knife to have in the woods. It can shave, baton, drill, and all of the other tasks one might need in the field. I imagine that there is at least one in 20% or more of households in Idaho given the lifestyle and demographics. And that doesn’t count other fixed blade hunting knives as well of which Idaho most certainly has an abundance.

I feel for KA-BAR, which is being dragged by the media online. They slant their coverage to imply that anyone who owns this most common of fixed blades is some sort of survivalist nutball. It is expected, but disheartening.

Where they have made a heck of a jump is to apply the “Rambo” label to the knife. Rambo carried two different Jim Lile custom knives in the First Blood Movies:

Continue reading “”

The Government Can’t Fix Social Media Moderation & Should Not Try

Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- Despite their increasingly bitter differences, Democrats and Republicans generally agree that content moderation by social media companies is haphazard at best. But while Democrats tend to think the main problem is too much speech of the wrong sort, Republicans complain that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are biased against them.

The government cannot resolve this dispute and should not try. Siding with the critics who complain about online “misinformation” poses an obvious threat to free inquiry and open debate. And while attempting to mandate evenhandedness might seem more consistent with those values, it undermines the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment in a more subtle but equally troubling way.

Under a Texas law that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit declined to block last week, the leading social media platforms are forbidden to discriminate against users or messages based on “viewpoint.” The “censorship” that Texas has banned includes not just outright removal of content and cancellation of accounts but also any steps that make posts less visible, accessible, or lucrative.

That means platforms are obliged to treat all posts equally, no matter how objectionable their content. With narrow exceptions for speech that is not constitutionally protected, Facebook et al. are not allowed to favor tolerance over bigotry, peace over violence, or verifiably true historical or scientific claims over demonstrably false ones.

While such neutrality is constitutionally mandatory for the government, imposing it on private actors violates the First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion.
The companies that challenged the law cited a line of Supreme Court decisions recognizing that right in a wide range of contexts, including a newspaper’s selection of articles, a utility’s control over the content of its newsletter, and a private organization’s vetting of participants in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Even assuming those cases established a general right to exercise editorial discretion, the 5th Circuit said that is not an accurate description of what social media platforms are doing when they decide that certain posts are beyond the pale. Because they rely heavily on algorithms, do not review content before publication, and take action against only a tiny percentage of messages, Judge Andrew Oldham declared in the majority opinion Facebook et al. “are nothing like” a newspaper.

Writing in dissent, Judge Leslie Southwick objected to that characterization. While “none of the precedents fit seamlessly,” Southwick said, a social media platform’s right to curate content is analogous to “the right of newspapers to control what they do and do not print.”

That right has never been contingent on whether editors do their jobs thoughtfully, consistently or fairly. As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit observed when it blocked enforcement of Florida’s social media law in May;

“private actors have a First Amendment right to be ‘unfair’ — which is to say, a right to have and express their own points of view.”

Oldham rejected the argument that social media companies are expressing a point of view when they make moderation decisions based on “amorphous goals” like maintaining “a welcoming community” (YouTube), fostering “authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity” (Facebook), or ensuring that “all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely” (Twitter). Yet the conservatives who want the government to restrict moderation decisions take it for granted that social media companies have an ideological agenda — one that is hostile to people on the right.

If social media platforms pursued that agenda more explicitly and systematically, Oldham’s argument implies, the government might be obliged to respect their decisions. The more proactive and heavy-handed they were, the stronger their First Amendment claim would be.

Should the Supreme Court resolve the split between the 5th and 11th circuits by endorsing Oldham’s reasoning, platforms that want to escape Texas-style regulation might decide that broader and tighter content restrictions are the way to go. By trying to mandate a diversity of opinions, the government could achieve the opposite result.

 

Now even the Washington Post, eternal suck up to anything demoncrap, is fact checking SloJoe……….

Biden Earns ‘Bottomless Pinocchio’ from Washington Post Over Multiple Misleading and Debunked Claims

President Joe Biden earned a “bottomless Pinocchio” from the Washington Post on the eve of the midterm elections in a roundup highlighting multiple recent misleading and debunked claims.

The “bottomless Pinocchio” category for fact-checks from the Post was actually created under former President Donald Trump in an effort to push back on “false or misleading statements repeated so often that they became a form of propaganda,” Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote.

According to the Post:

A statement would get added to the list if it had earned a Three or Four Pinocchios rating and been repeated at least 20 times. By the end of the Trump presidency, 56 claims made by Trump had qualified.

Now Biden has earned his own Bottomless Pinocchio.

A debunked claim Biden has repeated is that he’s traveled 17,000 miles with Xi Jinping. Despite Biden repeatedly pushing the claim, it has never been proven.

“There is no evidence Biden traveled that much with Xi, the president of China — and even if we added up the miles Biden flew to see Xi, it still did not total 17,000 miles,” Kessler noted.

The fact check roundup included plenty of other misleading statements, including claiming gas prices were over $5 dollars a gallon when he took office. Only days after making this comment in New York, however, Biden made a similar statement about bringing gas prices down, but said prices were $5 dollars a gallon in June, rather than when he took office.

Biden also recently celebrated the fact that seniors are getting an increase to their Social Security checks.

“On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks,” he said in Florida.

The White House sent out a celebratory tweet about these increases too, seemingly crediting Biden for the act. The tweet was quickly deleted after Twitter provided “context” to the statement, explaining the bump is part of a program launched in the ’70s, and it is only in response to high inflation.

BLUF
The bottom line is that it looks like the free ride for some 3,700 Twitter employees is over. Dems like AOC, who’ve enjoyed having the power of the Big Tech censorship lords on their party’s side, are obviously super triggered because Musk intends to transform into Twitter to the even playing field of free speech that it should have always been.

Elon Musk to Pull a Trump-Level ‘You’re Fired!’ on HALF of Twitter’s Workforce.

Even for a guy like Elon Musk, $44 billion is quite a chunk of money to spend on anything, even for the most valuable and influential social media platform in the world.

As often happens in the business world, cost-cutting measures are typically deployed upon acquiring a new business. According to a bombshell Bloomberg report Wednesday night, it appears the first money-saving cuts could come Friday in the way of firing roughly half of Twitter’s entire workforce.

That would be about 3,700 jobs, according to the report. Musk is also set to require a majority of whichever workers are left standing to actually come to work at the office, as we did back in the good ol’ days, effectively ending the work-from-home situation that became the new normal over the course of the pandemic.

Musk, as of this writing, hasn’t commented on Bloomberg’s report, but one Twitter user perfectly summarized why such a massive round of layoffs is probably the logical move at this point. Too many useless managers, and not nearly enough workers.

Bloomberg:

Continue reading “”

Comment O’ The Day
“Looking at the news today, if Elon wants an idea of what else Twitter can do, setting up a Twitter Book Mart and selling books (including, or especially those dropped by amazon) would be a good and useful one. The actual physical distribution of books is straightforward; publicizing them is the hard part. And the one thing Twitter does really well is publicize.”

Amazon Fascists Ban Another Book That Leftists Hate.

The battle for the freedom of speech is heating up this week, with Elon Musk chasing out the Twitter fascists and beginning to open up the platform for free discussion and dissent (amid howls of rage from the Left), but the other social media giants are showing no signs of retreating from their fascism. New English Review Press announced Sunday that a book it published back in 2017, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology by the renowned ex-Muslim scholar Ibn Warraq, has been pulled for sale from Amazon without explanation or the possibility of appeal.

It’s a strange move. I have the privilege and honor of having known Ibn Warraq for many years and calling him my friend. I’ve also read The Islam in Islamic Terrorism. Before I met him, his groundbreaking and courageous work Why I Am Not A Muslim was a powerful influence on me in the 1990s and had a great deal to do with my beginning to write about jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women myself. Ibn Warraq is a gentle soul, a careful scholar, a superb writer, and a profound and original thinker. The Islam in Islamic Terrorism is not some flame-throwing hate screed but a carefully documented exploration of the elements of Islam that jihad terrorists use in order to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Amazon, however, is run by Leftists, and for Leftists, any criticism of Islam, including any hint that it may have some connection to Islamic terrorism, is “Islamophobic” and thus to be rejected out of hand without any discussion of the actual evidence. For years now, the notorious far-Left smear machine, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has defamed opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression as “hate group leaders,” and Amazon has banned counter-jihad 501c3 charitable organizations from its Amazon Smile charity program on the basis of the SPLC’s “hate” listings.

Amazon has also shown a readiness to ban books that counter the Left’s nonsense. A few years back, the Leftist behemoth banned Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It has also banned other books that jihadis and their allies would find offensive, such as Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, and Mohammed’s Koran by McLoughlin and British activist Tommy Robinson.

Leftists will say, as they always say to criticism of the social media giants, that Amazon is a private company that can do what it wants and that if patriots don’t like it, they can start their own bookstore. Remember bookstores? There used to be many in every American city. They all had different selections, based on the owners’ perspectives and interests. But now they are almost all gone. Amazon dominates the book market, and Barnes & Noble takes most of the rest. If Amazon decides that your book is not acceptable, then most people who are interested in books will never have the opportunity to see it at all.

In earlier, less polarized times, the U.S. government determined that several monopolies — Standard Oil, American Tobacco, AT&T — were not in the public interest and compelled them to break up. It would be a great boon for the freedom of speech if Big Tech were subjected to this treatment, but the U.S. government as it is currently constituted is more likely to act against Musk for protecting the freedom of speech on Twitter than against the other social media giants for suppressing that freedom. The American people would also benefit immensely from the breakup of Amazon and reconstitution of bookstores that reflect differing points of view with selections that reflect not just Amazon’s doctrinaire Leftist line, but other points of view as well.

The Islam in Islamic Terrorism can still be found here. But it’s clear that Amazon is intending to shut down debate on a highly controversial issue. Even if you don’t care for the works of Ibn Warraq (which would be odd, as it would mean you don’t care for lucid, elegant prose, compelling reasoning, and a broad command of the salient facts), make no mistake: anytime Amazon pulls a book for political reasons, we are all threatened. The precedent has been set by the only bookseller that really matters today that books that are offensive to the Leftist elites can be deep-sixed at will. This precedent is dangerous and corrosive to a free society. In this age of the Biden regime’s creeping authoritarianism, it’s ominous in the extreme.

Just more willful ignorance

BLUF
The stereotype of gun owners is a lie. The media calls us male-pale-and-stale, and who cares if old white men are disarmed anyway. In fact, gun owners now look like a cross section of the USA. Minority urban women are the fastest growing segment of new gun owners. I think Democrat politicians are afraid that more women and minorities will decide to become gun owners. These new gun owners might enter the culture of armed America and protect themselves.

That fear keeps Democrat politicians up at night.

New Gun Owners are Invisible to the News Media and Democrat Politicians

More people own guns today than ever before. That growth is a continuation of a long term trend that goes back several decades. In addition to that gradual increase, we’ve also seen an extraordinary growth in new gun buyers in the last two years. We had to rewrite who owns guns and why they own them. Today, about four-out-of-ten families have a firearm in their home. Despite the astounding changes in gun ownership, the way some politicians talk about guns and gun owners is out of date. New gun owners are subjected to a crash course in being misperceived and misrepresented by politicians and by the mainstream news media alike.

What is real and what is fantasy?

Sitting President, Joe Biden, echoed old myths about gun owners at a fundraising event in June. He said,

“More people get killed with their own gun in their home trying to stop a burglar than, in fact, any other cause.. Think about that. Because it’s hard to do. It’s a hard thing to do.”

Mayor John Fetterman, the Democrat candidate for the US Senate from Pennsylvania, also felt the need to comment on guns and gun ownership. He said,

“I have seen with my own eyes at the scenes in my community what a military grade round does to the human body.” He said that rifles, particularly modern rifles, should be outlawed.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said,

“This whole concept that a good guy with a gun will stop the bad guys with a gun, it doesn’t hold up. And the data bears this out, so that theory is over.”

Those statements don’t fit what we know. We know a lot about new gun owners because we talked with them. Gun stores asked new gun owners why they wanted a gun so the gun shop employee could direct the customer to the appropriate products. The industry trade group representing firearms manufacturers and distributors collected those answers. The stereotypical gun owner used to be an old white man who bought a gun to go hunting. Several years ago, personal safety replaced hunting as the major reason new gun owners buy a firearm. Today, gun owners are from every demographic group; male and female, rich and poor, urban and rural. Gun owners represent every ethnic and racial group. About one-out-of-four African-American adults own a firearm. It seems strange that the mainstream media and politicians have deliberately ignored that change.

Continue reading “”

Free Bird.

Everything about Elon Musk insults the coddled, low-testosterone consensus that has been ruining America this last decade through the promulgation of its dependency agenda.

“The Bird is Freed!”

That’s what Elon Musk tweeted upon the consummation of his bid to buy Twitter. ’Twas a consummation devoutly to be wished. Why? For one thing, as Musk later tweeted, henceforth comedy once again will now be “legal on Twitter.”

Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for more money than you or I can really contemplate ($44 billion) lit the punditocracy ablaze. On the Left there was, as St. Matthew (13:42) put it in another context, abundant “fletus et stridor dentium,” “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” On the Right, there were cheers and not a little “Schadenfreude,” which is German for “serves you right, knucklehead.” The Right also went in for some creative trolling.

The dominant narrative, on the Left anyway, is that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter represents a conservative takeover of the social media giant. Twitter had been a brash and scrappy upstart, you see, and now it has been “colonized” by the rich and powerful. . . .

That’s the idea, anyway. You can practically hear the Nabobs of the Narrative holding their breath while they wait to see if the public buys it.

Their public will, of course. But how about the rest of us?

The New York Times gave fastidious expression to this canard in a story headlined “Twitter, Once a Threat to Titans, Now Belongs to One.” A “threat to titans,” eh? What do you suppose that means? The Times explains in its subhead. “A decade ago, the social media platform was a tool for rebels and those challenging authority. But over time, the powerful learned how to use it for their own goals.”

In order to appreciate how funny this is, you can start with CNN’s story about the pile of money paid to the executives that Musk, in his first order of business, fired on Thursday. It is a large pile. According to CNN, Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s former CEO, Ned Segal (former CFO), and Vijaya Gadde (former Chief Legal Officer) will walk away with nearly $200 million. (I pause so that you, along with many others, can savor the word “former.”)

Gadde, by the way, was not only paid many millions of dollars a year but was also instrumental in engineering the expulsion of Donald Trump, then the president of the United States, from the platform.

The idea that Twitter was a challenge to the establishment before the advent of Musk is almost as wrong as the idea that Musk is conservative and that he aims to transform Twitter into a a bastion of Trumpesque MAGA (or, to quote Joe Biden’s focus group, “ultra-MAGA”) sentiment.

Continue reading “”

CNN Sounds Alarm: SCOTUS May Wipe Out Gun Control ‘Nationwide’

CNN sounded the alarm Sunday, warning that the pro-Second Amendment makeup of  the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) portends an end to gun control “nationwide.”

CNN’s Tierney Sneed pointed to the June 23, 2022, SCOTUS decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, noting that it not only struck down New York’s proper cause requirement but also set forward stringent rules for how lower courts must decide cases related to the Second Amendment.

On July 1 Breitbart News noted that SCOTUS remanded a number of cases, vacating the decisions and ordering them to be reconsidered in light of Bruen. The cases centered on an “assault weapons” ban in Maryland, a “high capacity” magazine ban in California, and carry restrictions in Hawaii, among other things.

Roughly two weeks later Breitbart News pointed to a Washington Times article suggesting the Bruen decision puts all types of gun control in the crosshairs of gun rights groups.

The Washington Times paraphrased Justice Clarence Thomas’s emphasis on the important of decisions like BruenMcDonald v. Chicago (2010), and District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), saying, “The test courts must apply is whether a firearms restriction would have seemed reasonable to the founding generation that crafted and ratified the Second Amendment. If not, the law must give way to the Constitution.”

In light of this framework for testing restrictions, CNN warns that gun control in every state is in jeopardy:

Since the June ruling, federal judges in at least a half-dozen different cases have already cited the Bruen decision to rule against gun restrictions that have included local assault weapons bans, prohibitions on the manufacture of homemade firearms and bans on older teenagers publicly carrying handguns.

Several other laws now face new legal challenges under the precedent, among them zoning restrictions barring shooting ranges, licensing and training laws and the federal ban on certain misdemeanor offenders from possessing firearms.

CNN noted changes that have already occurred in jurisprudence in light of Bruen:

A federal district judge cited the ruling last month when halting Delaware restrictions on possessing and manufacturing untraceable firearms, saying that the law’s defenders failed to provide persuasive evidence that similar restrictions existed in the historical record. The precedent was also referenced when local assault weapon bans in two Colorado jurisdictions were put on hold this summer; the judges in both cases were each appointed by Democratic presidents.

CNN also noted a decision handed down on Thursday to “pause” new gun controls New York enacted in response to Bruen.

Breitbart News indicated the New York controls were paused via a temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby.

No, SCOTUS didn’t just rule against gun rights

Today it’s often difficult to determine when the mainstream media is being deliberately deceptive or is just incompetent. Whatever the case may be, they are routinely wrong.

Take for instance a recent ABC News headline reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) bump-stock ban:

Supreme Court upholds bump stock ban in big win for gun safety advocates

The Supreme Court did no such thing.

In December 2018, the ATF published a final rule amending the code of federal regulations to declare that items colloquially known as bump-stocks fall under the definition of “machineguns” as defined in the National Firearm Act. As these items were not registered prior to when the federal government froze the sale of new machineguns in 1986, the rule made bump-stocks contraband.

Gun rights proponents across the country took exception to what many perceived as impermissible executive branch law-making. As a result, several cases challenging the new rule were filed in federal court. Rather than concerning the Second Amendment, at issue in these cases is the permissible scope of administrative rule-making and the extent to which administrative agencies should or should not be given deference in interpreting criminal statutes.

In the case Aposhian v. Garland, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the ATF rule, at which point the plaintiffs petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case in August 2021. Similarly, in Gun Owners of America, Inc. v. Garland, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the ATF rule, prompting the plaintiffs to petition the Supreme Court in March 2022. On October 3, the Supreme Court declined to hear either case.

First, denying cert in a case is not a ruling on the merits of that case. The decision not to take a case is not an explicit endorsement of a lower court’s ruling. In his dissent in Darr v. Burford (1950) Justice Felix Frankfurter explained,

The significance of a denial of a petition for certiorari ought no longer to require discussion. This Court has said again and again and again that such a denial has no legal significance whatever bearing on the merits of the claim. The denial means that this Court has refused to take the case. It means nothing else.

Second, there is good reason in this instance why the Supreme Court may want to take a wait and see approach to how the law in this area develops in the lower federal courts.

At present, another bump-stock case, Cargill v. Garland, is making its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In December 2021 the Fifth Circuit upheld the ATF rule in this case. However, following a petition by the plaintiff, in June the Fifth Circuit agreed to hear the case en banc (in front of the full court, rather than just a panel of circuit court judges).

Could the Supreme Court be waiting on the Fifth Circuit to rule en banc before entertaining a bump-stock case? That is a distinct possibility. What isn’t is that the Supreme Court has made a ruling on the merits of these important cases. Reporters should know better.

It’s easy to get ‘consensus’ when you persecute and prosecute anyone who disagrees.

Image

What’s interesting is how the blame gets assigned to the federal, state, or territorial level depending on where the Republicans are.

Do Republicans Cause Hurricanes?
The corporate media gears up to give DeSantis the Katrina treatment.

With the grim inevitability of Greek tragedy, three things always happen when a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. First, the storm will be touted by the corporate media as evidence that anthropogenic climate change presents an existential threat to humanity and the planet. Second, anyone who dares question the accuracy of this claim will be either ignored or denounced as a dangerous anti-science “denier.” Third, if the hurricane happens to hit a state with a GOP governor, he will be blamed for causing any resultant death and destruction.

In the case of Hurricane Ian, all three commenced more than 24 hours before the storm actually arrived in Florida. On Tuesday, CNN talking head Don Lemon contradicted Jamie Rhome — the acting director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center — about the effect of climate change on the storm’s intensity. Rhome tried to stay on topic and cautioned Lemon against linking any single weather event to climate change. Lemon nonetheless insisted on providing this brilliant scientific analysis: “Well, listen, I grew up there and these storms are intensifying. Something is causing them to intensify.”

Also on Tuesday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell told White House reporters that she had concerns about the complacency of some Floridians who hadn’t experienced a major hurricane, but she characterized FEMA’s interaction with state officials as “excellent.” Predictably, Politico misrepresented the administrator’s comments in order to create a false narrative about Florida’s allegedly “lax response” to storm warnings. Later, a “reporter” hit Gov. Ron DeSantis with this: “FEMA Administrator Criswell said today that she acknowledged concerns about Florida’s, as it was said, ‘lax response’ to the storm so far.” DeSantis immediately shut him down:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Give me a break. That is nonsense. Stop politicizing, OK? Stop it. We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed.… Honestly, you’re trying to attack me I get, but you’re attacking these other people who have worked very hard. So, that’s just totally false. I don’t think we have ever, certainly since I’ve been governor, declared a state of emergency this early.

Politico later executed a stealth edit, replacing “lax response” with a more accurate description of Criswell’s comments. If the reporter’s question sounds familiar, it’s not an illusion. The “lax response” trope has been used by the media for decades against GOP governors and presidents when no genuine fault can be found with their reactions to natural disasters. Remember when President George W. Bush was blamed for the Katrina disaster after routing more funds to Louisiana for civil works projects than any other state? Never mind that Louisiana public officials misappropriated much of the money that was meant to reinforce the levees.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, DeSantis was taking incoming fire from the Fourth Estate as the storm was about to make landfall. The Weekly Dish’s Andrew Sullivan was generous enough to offer this inspired insight: “DeSantis now being tested as a governor not a troll.” This is unusually trite for Sullivan. His effusions, while frequently vicious and sometimes a little crazy, are usually a lot more original. Where this storm is concerned, though, he has fallen in with the theme adopted by most of the corporate media during the past 48 hours — Hurricane Ian is a timely test of DeSantis’ leadership. Here’s an example of the genre from TIME:

Ron DeSantis is about to face the most consequential 72 hours of his political career.… DeSantis, however, remains largely untested. For three years, he’s been able to pick culture-war fights with teachers and Walt Disney World without the pesky distraction of serious governing. He doesn’t have a lot of the compassionate chits that his predecessors had stored up in advance.

If the author of this piece believes that DeSantis has been “largely untested,” he should consider leaving journalism. In reference to hurricanes, DeSantis dealt effectively with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that hit the Florida Panhandle just before he was elected in 2018. Moreover, he responded to COVID-19 more effectively than any other large-state governor in the country, despite Florida’s huge percentage of elderly — and therefore vulnerable — residents. He has rarely received credit for that by corporate media, which will doubtless bury any good news about his response to Hurricane Ian.

As bad as the media coverage has been on Hurricane Ian, however, the dumbest response to Florida’s latest storm came from Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). During a discussion with the renowned climate experts of Morning Joe, she delivered herself of this gem: “We just did something about climate change for the first time in decades. That’s why [Democrats] have to win this as that hurricane bears down on Florida. We’ve got to win in the midterms.” Thus, ipso facto, Republicans do cause hurricanes and DeSantis must get the Katrina treatment to prevent him and the GOP from destroying Gaia.

DEMONIZING GUN ADS IS A MISGUIDED WITCH HUNT

Gun control advocates are ready to start grabbing pitchforks and torches in their attempt to drive out firearm manufacturer advertisements. They fear that today’s advertising is running to a tipping point where they need to rally the villagers to chase the monster pieced together by mad gun advertisers out of town.

Today’s gun ads, they claim, are a horrific menagerie of “toxic masculinity,” fearmongering and anti-government militancy. Except none of that is true. Gun control’s efforts are more like a witch hunt, and more like Monty Python’s version of one depicted in the cult classic, “The Holy Grail.”

They’re too busy clanging alarm bells to roust of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to realize that the monster they’re chasing doesn’t exist. The real monsters are the criminals, not the law-abiding gun owners who are lawfully purchasing firearms for self-defense, recreational shooting and hunting.

They want to muzzle and silence our industry so the American heritage and tradition of hunting and the shooting sports is not passed on to the next generation.

Defining Acceptable Ads

Adweek was the latest to weigh in. The advertising trade publication, which regularly highlights efforts by various gun control groups to demonize lawful gun ownership, posted a feature claiming that today’s gun ads are turning America’s children into “extremists.”

The article focuses on an effort by lawmakers to pressure the FTC to abandon their neutrality and deny gun manufacturers the ability to advertise. They say the ads of yesteryear of plaid-clad hunters unwrapping a rifle under the tree are acceptable, but today’s advertising that draws on patriotism and self-reliance is a bridge too far. They want the FTC to burn gun manufacturers at the metaphorical stake and cut out their tongues.

That is a pretty big leap to suggest that Americans – even youth – exposed to firearm ads will poison their minds. Guns have been advertised for decades, even guns offered in youth models. Mechanix Illustrated ran an ad in 1954 for a Remington .22-caliber rifle, featuring a youth holding a rifle he received as a Christmas present. Sears Roebuck listed firearms in their catalog in 1897, featuring a shotgun for $7.95 and would even deliver a revolver to a mailing address.

Clearly, government regulations restricted that years ago. Even toy guns, like Mattel’s #2 M-16 were featured in 1967 with “braap, brra-a-a-a-ap, brap, brap,” sounds were advertised. None of that turned America’s youth into murderers. In fact, recreational shooting, including the scholastic shooting sports, ranks among the safest sporting activities. Golf, walking and tennis report more injuries than hunting and trap and skeet shooting reports just 0.1 percent of injuries.

Intellectually Dishonest

That is because the shooting sports are heavily supervised. Basic foundational safety rules are a must and are drilled into every gun owner. Children are admonished to only handle firearms under the direct supervision of a responsible adult.

Critics of lawful firearm ownership are being intellectually dishonest when they say it is advertising that is causing out-of-control crime rates or horrific murders. They know this is not true. It is not as if these are individuals who are not academically accomplished. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was once a professor at Harvard University. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was Yale Law School graduate who also served as Connecticut’s attorney general. They are not uneducated. They are just being dishonest.

They do not want to admit that the soft-on-crime policies they espouse are not making our communities safer. They would rather latch onto every gun control notion they can and mispresent to America that the societal ills are the fault of the firearm industry that they have made a career demonizing. It plays well to their voters when they do not have to admit their policies are failing. It is easier to cast blame and malign an industry, tell America that murderers are not individuals with craven hearts who couldn’t care less about the law, much less the value of human life. It is easier to ignore that the responsible firearm industry offers Real Solutions® than admit law-abiding gun owners are invested in safe and responsible ownership.

Do not believe their false and misleading claims that the firearm industry is evil. They are the ones selling pitchforks and torches.

BLUF
Pelley’s reluctance to ask tough questions about Hunter is deliberate and straight out of the corporate media handbook.

The corrupt press knew Hunter was sealing deals using his dad’s name and title. They also knew that was compromising for the then-presidential candidate. That’s why when Hunter’s laptop with information indicating Joe was not as clueless about Hunter’s business as he seemed surfaced shortly before the 2020 election, the media claimed it was “Russian disinformation” and refused to cover any of the corruption.

Pelley’s refusal to make Joe answer for the Biden family business in a 2022 “60 Minutes” interview is no different than the media’s deliberate memory holing of Hunter’s depravity and the Bidens’ wheeling and dealings in 2020.

Corporate Media Enable Biden Family Corruption By Refusing To Ask Tough Questions About Hunter.

Joe Biden hasn’t had to answer tough questions about Hunter Biden and the Biden family business because the corporate media doesn’t make him.

Thanks to the complacent, corrupt corporate media, President Joe Biden has once again failed to answer questions about the Biden family business and whether his son Hunter Biden’s foreign entanglements have affected how he chooses to run the country.

The most recent side-stepping happened during a “60 Minutes” interview with CBS news anchor Scott Pelley, who claimed that if Joe seeks re-election, “Republicans are most likely to go after your son Hunter.”

“I wonder what you would like to say about your son and whether any of his troubles have caused conflicts for you or for the United States,” Pelley said.

First, Pelley’s “question” was not a question but a softball statement designed to save him from criticism for failing to raise Hunter as a topic of conversation at all. Much like the rest of his corporate media colleagues, Pelley seems to have an incessant desire to prop up the declining president instead of making him answer tough questions.

Secondly, Republicans aren’t “going after” Hunter to get to Joe. They are raising legitimate concerns about someone whose foreign business dealings and criminal dabbling, combined with his closeness to POTUS, pose a serious threat to the national security of the United States.

Continue reading “”

5 questions about New York’s new social media requirements for gun applicants

New gun laws in New York for those seeking a concealed carry license, including a review of social media accounts by law enforcement, was cleared to go into effect by a federal judge last week, but questions about how the state will enforce it and future legal challenges remain.

The new rules, part of the state’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act, followed a Supreme Court ruling in June that prohibits states from requiring residents seeking a gun license to prove a special need to carry a handgun outside the home.

The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, challenged a provision of New York’s 109-year-old concealed carry law that required applicants to have “proper cause” for the permit — a special need for self-defense. Five other states had similar laws.

New York responded with a number of changes, including requiring concealed carry applicants to share “a list of former and current social media accounts” from the past three years to assess the applicant’s “character and conduct.” The rule comes in the aftermath of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, where the gunmen reportedly posted warnings about their violence online.

The new state laws, which also require more classroom and in-person training for concealed carry licenses and the creation of “sensitive places” where guns are not permitted, have already been met with lawsuits. Judge Glenn Suddaby declined to put the law on hold a day before it took effect, saying the New York resident and three gun rights organizations who filed lawsuits didn’t have standing to bring the legal action. But he indicated he believed some parts of the laws were unconstitutional, and legal experts expect other challenges in the future.

While written testimonies are common for gun permits across the country, requiring social media records is an added layer that has not been implemented in other places for the purposes of gun permitting.

“I refuse to surrender my right as Governor to protect New Yorkers from gun violence or any other form of harm. In New York State, we will continue leading the way forward and implementing common sense gun safety legislation,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said of the conceal carry changes in a statement last week.

The social media requirement has raised questions about privacy and what states can request in the permitting process.

Max Markham, vice president of policy and community engagement at the Center for Policing Equity, said he believes the laws as a whole are a “strong legislative package” when it comes to curbing gun violence. But he said the social media requirement is unclear in its scope and implementation, and will need to be better defined in the near future. He added that he expects conservative groups, in particular, will fight the law on constitutional grounds.

Markham said the law includes a process to appeal if a person’s application for a concealed carry permit is rejected, which he believes can help increase accountability and provide space “for individuals who may feel like they’ve been judged incorrectly.”

“I think seeing how it is enforced and ensuring that there is some degree of equity will be really key,” he said.

What is the scope of the law?

The wording of the requirement suggests applicants only need to share their public content with officials, and that the purpose of the search is to corroborate written testimony from character witnesses, according to David Greene, civil liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Greene believes the social media rules are intended to look for stated intent to commit crimes with a gun. But Greene said there’s a host of information unrelated to a search for criminality that can be gleaned from accessing someone’s social media history.

“[It] can say a lot about someone’s political affiliations, about the community organizations they belong to, about religious groups they’re active in … and their familial relationships,” he said.

Greene said that context – which is hard to gather from a quick social media scan – is relevant to what people share on the platforms, and it can be difficult to get that from a profile alone .

While New York’s new gun law includes welcome changes, such as requiring more firearm training, the social media requirements are a “poor” part and have “serious” privacy concerns, said Adam Scott Wandt, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“I question whether or not that part of the law will subject the state to lawsuits that will eventually find the law unconstitutional. And I also have serious privacy concerns with the state requiring somebody to submit social media accounts for review based upon unclear criteria as to what constitutes ‘good character’ and moral and what doesn’t. It’s messy,” Wandt said.

The New York City Bar Association Committee on Technology, Privacy and Cyber, which Wandt co-chairs, did not have time to offer input or feedback on the laws, either, he said..

Hochul’s office did not answer a question from the PBS NewsHour about outside expert review on the new set of laws.

Is social media monitoring for licenses used elsewhere in government?

Social media monitoring to get an official government license is a rare official policy but at least one other agency has adopted the practice.

Greene said visa applicants have been required to share their social media accounts since 2019. The requirements, originally created under the Trump administration, have been continued by Joe Biden. Users are required to provide social media accounts used in the last five years from a list of 20 platforms. Applicants do have the option to select “none” if they have not used any of the social media sites.

According to the State Department, the collection and review of social media information is intended to “enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigraiton benefits, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people.”

Wandt said that he is also concerned about social media reporting requirements being expanded to other professional licensing administered by the government, potentially forcing some people seeking these licenses to sacrifice privacy for their work, he said.

Wandt said there were also questions about how he social media information gleaned from firearm applications will be used or stored by law enforcement.

“Do these things go into a database when the NYPD pulls me over? Is there a database now that they’ll be able to look at and see my social media because I applied for a handgun? I think there are more questions than answers at this point,” he said.

Hochul’s office did not respond to a question from the NewsHour about what happens to the records of an applicant’s social media account after a permit is processed.

Which law enforcement agencies will conduct these searches?

Who will grant gun licenses in New York under the new law is dependent on the jurisdiction. In New York City, the NY Police Department issues gun licenses and will check social media accounts. Across the state, there may be some sheriff’s departments who conduct the checks, but in many cases, a county authority, such as a judge, issues the license. However, in those cases, responsibility for ensuring requirements for a gun license are met will still fall to the sheriffs.

“Troopers remain committed to this mission, and we are dedicated to stopping the criminals who traffic illegal guns and endanger our communities,” State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said in a statement.

NY Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe said there is worry by sheriffs that the task of searching through social media accounts would be too difficult. He said there is a risk that law enforcement will miss something in the social media account of someone issued with a gun license who then goes on to commit a crime, putting that responsibility and accountability on the sheriffs.

READ MORE: Gun applicants in NY will have to hand over social media accounts

“It falls on the sheriff because he missed something when he was given an impossible task,” he said.

Kehoe adds that the definition of “character and conduct” under the new statute is too vague.

“The statute says that they have to give us social media accounts and we have to use those to determine whether or not the individual has the right temperament and judgment to be entrusted with a weapon,” Kehoe said.

“What we think shows good judgment might not be the next guy’s estimate of good judgment and it’s all gonna be based on the eyes and ears of the person who’s reviewing it,” Kehoe said.

However, Kehoe denied that political biases would play a role in vetting.

“They’re going to be looking at these accounts. And if they see something concerning, they’re gonna put that in their background report to the judge then it’s gonna be up to the judge to decide, I guess, whether or not that particular concern is disqualifying for the person to have a license.”

In a statement to the NewsHour, Hochul’s office said the law doesn’t change the nature of licensing, it simply adds a new requirement for applicants.

“Local law enforcement and licensing officials have always been responsible for evaluating information provided by prospective applicants to determine whether a permit should be issued. The law doesn’t change that,” the statement said.

“It simply requires them to consider social media activity and other new information as part of their review process for concealed carry applications.”

Is there any training being provided for those doing this vetting?

The section of the law that requires applicants to disclose their social media accounts does not detail what training is required for those doing the vetting. Kehoe said law enforcement has not been given additional funding to do training for law enforcement, or to conduct checks of social media accounts. Kehoe expects “millions” of applicants under New York’s new gun licensing rules, many of whom will have more than one social media account.

“Just on a very practical level, we don’t think we can do this.”

Applicants will only be required to provide social media accounts used in the past three years, however, Kehoe said law enforcement may be required to look farther back into those accounts.

“The statute didn’t provide any resources for us to do this and it’s just not going to be possible to get it done without additional manpower,” Kehoe said.

Markham hopes the state will provide bias training for officials combing through social media, reflecting a wider push for law enforcement agencies to minimize possible unequal treatment of minority communities.

Hochul’s office did not respond to a question about whether additional training or resources would be provided to law enforcement in support of the new requirements.

Can monitoring social media work?

The social media search may catch some people who shouldn’t have access to firearms but many more, including those who might be most dangerous and inhabit the darkest parts of the internet, will slip through the cracks, Wandt said.

“Putting all the constitutional and moral issues aside, I stand by my experience and research that shows me that the truly dangerous, disturbed people have multiple social media accounts, usually not under their real name, and I highly doubt that they will be reported on a application for a carry permit,” Wandt said.

Greene said asking whether it will work is the wrong question, since he believes such policies can be inherently harmful, especially if other government institutions, such as general law enforcement, adopt similar policies.

“I do think there’s something dangerous about institutionalizing and normalizing having people provide their social media accounts to the government,” he said.